Like a traditional nuclear reactor a breeder reactoruses fission of nuclear materials to create energy. The biggest difference is that a plutonium breeder reactor produces more plutonium than it consumes.
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What is breeder reactor?
Breeder reactor, nuclear reactor that produces more fissionable material than it consumes to generate energy. This special type of reactor is designed to extend the nuclear fuel supply for electric power generation.
Why are fast breeder reactors used for plutonium production?
Fast neutrons are ideal for plutonium production because they are easily absorbed by U 238 to create Pu 239, and they cause less fission than thermal neutrons. Some fast breeder reactors can generate up to 30 percent more fuel than they use.
What is a reactor and how does it work?
Reactors can be designed to maximize plutonium production, and in some cases they actually produce more fuel than they consume. These reactors are called breeder reactors. Breeder reactors are possible because of the proportion of uranium isotopes that exist in nature.
What is the difference between fast breeder and thermal breeder?
Fast breeders do not need moderation as neutrons need to move fast. In contrast, thermal breeders make use of moderation to reach slower-moving neutrons. The most promising breeder reactor is the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (LMFBR), which uses liquid sodium coolant and breeds plutonium uranium-238.